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Sustainable Transportation Energy Basics (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video "Sustainable Transportation Energy Basics."

Close your eyes.

Imagine a day without vehicles. No cars, buses, trucks, rideshares.

It's almost impossible to imagine, right? Transportation is an integral part of our everyday lives. The average American drives more than 15,000 miles and spends 54 hours stuck in traffic every year. Ouch.

Today, transportation makes up nearly 30% of our energy use in the United States and most of our oil consumption.

We're thinking differently about how to travel in a sustainable way. Introducing the latest in mobility innovation!

[Swiss motor wheel appears on screen].

Just kidding! That bizarre contraption is a 1931 Swiss motor wheel. Be sure to look it up.

Unlike that invention, sustainable transportation technologies make sense. You've probably seen some of these vehicles on the road without knowing it.

A hybrid electric vehicle has an electric motor that helps the combustion engine. When a lot of fuel is being burned, the electric motor kicks in so the engine uses less gasoline or diesel. The battery recharges through regenerative braking while the car is being driven.

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle also has a combustion engine and electric motor but can recharge when it's not being driven by plugging it into a charging station.

An all-electric vehicle runs only on electricity from a battery, so it produces no emissions. A bonus, this vehicle is sneaky fast. Literally. The electric torque is quiet and powerful, so it can accelerate from a dead stop.

A fuel cell electric vehicle creates its own electricity when hydrogen in the fuel cell reacts with oxygen in the air. The only emissions are water vapor and warm air. Yep, you heard that right.

Advanced technology vehicles are becoming more common on the roads. In 2018, over 1 million plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the United States. A new record! Plus, many more plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles are being developed and produced.

Another important piece of sustainable transportation is alternative fuels. This includes biodiesel, electricity (including electricity from solar and wind energy), ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.

Any vehicle that runs on one of these is considered an alternative fuel vehicle!

[Prison tricycle appears on screen].

Alright this is not an alternative fuel vehicle, but it certainly is alternative. It's a prison tricycle that was used to transport men to jail. Moustaches were required to ride it.

Like inventors of the past, researchers today are thinking differently about how we get from one place to another.

A truly sustainable transportation future doesn't just depend on advanced technology vehicles and alternative fuels. Lots of pieces need to work together. Fuel-efficient engines, advanced petroleum-based fuels, vehicle connectivity, and an electrical grid powered by a variety of renewable and conventional energy sources are all important factors.

Sustainable transportation technologies and practices save people time and money, help clear the air, and boost the American economy—all the while getting us where we need to go.

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www.nrel.gov/research/learning.html